The winner of the Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role can be one of the most surprising of the entire ceremony. Think of some of the most unexpected recipieints of this Oscar: Marisa Tomei, Mira Sorvino, Juliette Binoche, Anna Paquin, Marcia Gay-Harden and Beatrice Straight were not only shockers for their own category but they're among the most shocking wins in Academy history.
So, we can't be certain that this year's race is really already in the bag for Jennifer Lawrence for her performance as New Jersey housewife Rosalyn Rosenfeld in American Hustle. The young star, who won the Oscar for Best Actress last year, has already taken this year's equivalent Golden Globe, BAFTA Award and honors from the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. But is she definitely the front-runner here? Will the Academy feel the need to recognize her two years in a row?
Lawrence's biggest challenger is Lupita Nyong'o, who plays Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. She certainly gives one of the year's most powerful performances, and she beat Lawrence for honors from the Screen Actors Guild, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Online Film Critics Society and additional critic groups in numerous cities, including Chicago, Los Angeles, London and Austin. She's also a very new name in Hollywood, so she has her whole life ahead of her for more opportunities.
Maybe it's not even a two-person race. There is plenty of love for June Squibb, as Bruce Dern's character's wife, Kate Grant, in Nebraska. She doesn't have a lot of lead-up honors under her belt, just an award from critics in Boston, but she has the best chance of squeezing between Lawrence and Nyong'o for a stunning upset. She's likely technically in third place but could take the Oscar if the others split the majority vote too much.
Next is Sally Hawkins, who has been overshadowed by her Best Actress-nominated costar from Blue Jasmine, Cate Blanchett. Hawkins still deserves a win for Happy-Go-Lucky, though, especially since she wasn't even nominated then. But even if she didn't already have limited odds in this race, some say the recent Woody Allen controversy might be hurting every nominee attached to his movie.
Finally we have Julia Roberts for her portrayal of Barbara Weston-Fordham in the movie of August: Osage County. Having won before and been nominated plenty of times in the past for much more notable work, she is hardly viewed as needing the Oscar this time around. It would be interesting, however, to see America's former sweetheart trump America's current sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence.
Who will win? We have no idea, but we can discuss who we want to win. This week we polled users on Twitter to name the supporting actress they think should win the Oscar. The results are below followed by a few select tweets.
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave): 2
June Squibb (Nebraska): 2
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine): 1
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle): 1
Julia Roberts (August: Osange County): 0
@thefilmcynic Nyong'o deserves it. Lawrence will win it.— Damen Norton (@DamenNorton) February 19, 2014
@thefilmcynic Should win: Sally Hawkins. She was honestly fantastic. Better than Cate Blanchett in my opinion.— Daniel Howat (@howatdk) February 19, 2014
@thefilmcynic Lawrence, though Squibb is my second choice, followed by Hawkins a close third.— Joey Magidson (@JoeyMagidson) February 19, 2014
@thefilmcynic write-in: the female ulysses, inside llewyn davis— john lichman (@jlichman) February 19, 2014